Xinmin Wang (新民网) has an article on Chinabounder (in Chinese) that adds a few more puzzles to the story. It seems that the Oriental Morning Post (东方早报） has been getting leads and tips from the internet now claims to know the identity of Chinabounder.
The OMP claims that they found a clue on a Tianya forum post that states that Chinabounder is an English teacher at a training (language) institute. So the reporters called up the institute, and this is what they had to say:
After finding a clue on Tianya forums, Shanghai’s OMP reporters interviewed someone from this famous foreign language institute, who said “we don’t really know much about this matter,” and then went on to explain that there are many foreigners at their institute, there are at least sixteen or seventeen named “D—-,” and that there are a few called D—- M——-.
A few? How many? Two? Three? What are the chances of that? Sounds suspect to us. The chances of there being two guys in Shanghai named Dan Washburn that know each other (which is true) or 43,506 people named Chen Peijin in China is greater than that. The reason why they think it’s this particular institute is because there are teachers who fit the description of Chinabounder (but, then again, a lot of white people here do, like the person sitting next to us at Wagas last night — you tried to play it cool but we saw you sweatin’ you sleazy bastard), especially because that certain teacher would often make remarks such as, “It’s been 60 years, why do you still hate the Japanese?”
And there’s more:
1. Chinabounder might not be in China and
2. Chinabounder might not be English.
The first conclusion was drawn based on some “evidence” from a Mr. Zheng (this from Zhang Jiehai’s updates on his blog), who is an internet expert (网络高手), who rubbed his IP address crystal ball and said that Chinabounder is not blogging from within China. Of course, we know that the servers are in the US, and we also know that until recently, blogspot.com was blocked in China. This would mean that you’d have to use a proxy server or else email your entries in — and we suspect the former might throw someone “off the trail,” but we’re sure an internet expert wouldn’t be duped that easily.
Secondly, Zhang Jiehai states on his blog that according to an American woman named “Ms. Ross,” that he is 100 percent sure that Chinabounder is not British.
We are not sure why, or how, Ms. Ross, an American, came to this conclusion. Were there perhaps too many Americanisms in Chinabounder’s speech? Or does he talk dirty like a New Zealander? Does he refer to breasts using slang preferred by the young generation of South Africans? Ms. Ross might be language expert, but this attribution, as it stands, isn’t terribly convincing.
In any case, the internet expert said that Chinabounder’s IP is from a city in New Jersey — assholes!
What follows is interesting — the article segues into a discussion of the state of English teachers in Shanghai: 外语培训机构校长披露外教漏习:“有些外教除了口语啥都不会” (The principal of a foreign language institute discloses the truth about foreign teachers: “Some of them, besides being able to speak English, can’t do anything.”) The article then states that demand is such that foreigners that since people with minimal teaching skills, e.g. college students or recent grads that come to learn Chinese, end up as part-time teachers, turnover is high and no one really gives a shit. Students complain that they pay good money and get shite teachers. And once, one of these teachers even propositioned one of his students!
This teacher admonishes the young ladies of Shanghai:
“女孩子们，看到老外眼神不要变！”校长在电子邮件里语重心长地告诫。(Girls, don’t change your expression when you see foreigners!” the principal said in his email.)
We don’t know what OMP is thinking: Perhaps some enterprising reporter there thinks that they are going to win some big prize or become famous and have sex with a lot of Chinese girls for uncovering this mystery. However, we have to say that publishing a “suspect’s” name is irresponsible, not only because it’s unfair to all the people with the same name (that aren’t openly gay) but also because it’s really not a newspaper’s place to be doing something like this.
And anyway, what about all the talk about this being a hoax?
Photo from AndrewMorrell’s Flickr page.